While symptoms of PMS are common enough, some women suffer from a more extreme form of PMS that mimics depression and anxiety known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
PMDD is sometimes treated with ovulation suppressants and SSRIs when properly diagnosed, it can be misdiagnosed by some doctors as bipolar disorder or other mood disorders, reports Sarah Hagi.
“New research, however, has linked PMDD to cellular changes. Advocates hope this new research will make it easier to properly diagnose PMDD,” Hagi says.
PMDD was first added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a depressive disorder in 2013 but, by pointing to a molecular causation, the new research “helps put PMDD on the same footing as other medical diseases,” Dr. David Goldman of the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism tells Hagi.
In fact, finding the reason why women with PMDD react differently to the same hormones found in women without PMDD “has been the ‘holy grail’ of PMDD research, says Dr. Nanette Santoro, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado.